What's the fuss with BPA?
There's a lot of baby products out there claiming to be BPA free. What is BPA and what harm can it cause? Are all baby products BPA free? These were some of the questions in my mind when I first had a baby. After some research I realised that all baby bottles and cups were BPA free but not necessarily everything else. The potential harm of BPA encouraged us to start using less plastic feeding utensils for the kids and since we have started our journey towards a plastic free life and zero waste life. Here's a brief background on BPA.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is often used with other materials as an industrial chemical to make plastics used for water bottles, coatings of metal food containers and bottle tops. BPA may leach in small amounts into food and drinks stored in materials containing the substance. The safety is widely disputed. In 2011 and 2012 The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the United State’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) respectively banned its use in baby bottles, infant sippy cups and later, in the lining of infant formula packaging (although this was done out of abandonment rather than safety concerns).
Even though both authorities continue to support its safety in low levels exposed from food there have been increasing expressions of safety concerns and they are continuing to look into new research because there have been studies in young animals and humans that show that BPA can be harmful.
As recent as June 2017 The Member State Committee (MSC)* supported to additionally identify BPA as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) because of its endocrine disrupting properties which may cause serious effects to human health.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic the body’s hormones and produce a harmful effect on development, reproduction as well as having neurological and immune effects.
It seems there isn’t enough evidence for the authorities to state BPA is unsafe but there isn’t evidence to say it is safe either.
What can you do to limit BPA absorption?
- Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA. Avoid using these plastics if possible.
- When containers containing BPA are heated, the level of BPA rises in the food therefore do not heat these containers in the microwave or even put very hot or boiling foods and liquids into these containers.
- Throw out all bottles that are scratched as not only can they harbour bacteria but if they contain BPA then there is more chance BPA can leach.
1. Food and Drug Administration www.fda.gov
2. European Food Safety Authority www.efsa.europa.eu
3. European Chemical Agency https://echa.europa.eu/
*MSC seeks unanimous agreement on identification of substances for the list of SVHC